Thursday, July 24, 2003

Forger of So-Called James Ossurary Arrested

From - Dealer accused of forging 'James Ossuary':

"Police have arrested an Israeli antiquities dealer suspected of creating two forgeries that shook the religious and archeological world, including a burial box purported to be that of Jesus's brother James.

Oded Golan also is suspected in connection with a shoebox-sized tablet inscribed with forged instructions for caring for the Jewish Temple.

Golan appeared in a Jerusalem court today, one day after police arrested him at his home in Tel Aviv on suspicion of forging and dealing in fake antiquities.

In court, police unveiled forgery equipment they said was found in Golan's home, including stencils, stones and partially completed forgeries. The dealer was being detained by police.

Golan last year told a French collector about the two disputed artifacts, which raised questions from the start. After exhaustive studies, the Israel Antiquities Authority declared last month that they were forgeries.

The burial box, or ossuary, bore the inscription, 'James, the brother of Jesus,' leading to speculation that it referred to the brother of Jesus of Nazareth."